As a result of action by HMRC’s National Minimum Wage (NMW) enforcement teams, a massive £4.6m in wage arrears was paid to more than 22,000 workers in 2013/14.
New figures from HMRC show that they:
- carried out 1,455 investigations
- issued 652 financial penalties, worth £815,269
- found arrears in 47% of cases – the highest strike rate since National Minimum Wage (NMW) was introduced
- recovered average arrears of around £205 per worker.
Jenny Willott, Business Minister, said, “Paying less than the minimum wage is illegal and, as HMRC’s record shows, if employers break the law they will face tough consequences. We want to issue a clear warning to employers who fail to pay the minimum wage: under the government’s new rules you will be named and shamed and face a stiff financial penalty. If anyone suspects they are not being paid the wage they are legally entitled to they should call the Pay and Work Rights helpline.
Examples of underpayment cases where HMRC has taken action in the past year include a Premier League football club being ordered to pay arrears of over £27,500 to over 3,000 workers after it made deductions for uniforms and travelling time for staff working in hospitality, a social care worker - who did not pay its staff for travelling time and other hours worked - being told to repay over £600,000 in arrears of wages to almost 3,000 workers and a recruitment agency being ordered to pay more than £167,000 to workers, including some it had classified as unpaid interns.
Director of Enforcement and Compliance at HMRC, Jennie Granger, said, “Paying the National Minimum Wage is not a choice – it’s the law. HMRC will continue to ensure that workers get at least the wage to which they are legally entitled. Where an employer ignores these rules, we will ensure that any arrears are paid out in full and the employer is fined. Rogue employers be warned – we will find you and you will pay.”